Jennifer Whiteman on Thursday, Jun. 23rd
The beginning of summer was this week, and so was International Surf Day.
It’s only appropriate to talk about the history of an little-known surf culture: black surfing.
Sure African-Americans are widely lauded in athletic fields, and a growing number of extreme sports, but black surfers have gone virtually unnoticed for years.
Here is a brief timeline by the Black Surfing Association (BSA), on black surfing in Southern California.
- 1940s – First documented African-American Surfer Nick Gabaldon
- 1951 – Nick Gabaldon’s tragic death in an accident
- 1975 – Tony Corley founds the Black Surfing Association
- 2007- The City of Santa Monica commemorated Nick Gabaldon with the emplacement of a plaque at the popular surf spot, Ink Well Beach (a once, blacks-only beach)
Today the BSA’s members are growing and strong. The association’s statement of purpose and intent declares:
“This water sport, believed to have been created by our own oceanic ancients, is enjoyed today throughout the coastal regions of the world. Though comparatively small in numbers, surfing, like tennis, golf, and skiing, is enjoying an increasing number of Black participants. From this growth of interest, participation, and the need for sharing arose the conception of developing [the] Black Surfing Association.”
The statement then closes with this warm incitement.
“Together as one… let us surf, share and save our Oceans and Seas.”